Friday, April 28, 2006

New releases - Tool and Pearl Jam

There are two albums coming out in the very near future that have me a little excited. I can't imagine either artist ever playing These Hallowed Halls - but a boy can dream, right? This is the first time I've been as simultaneously excited about two new albums coming out as when Foo Fighters In Your Honor and Weezer's Make Believe hit the streets.

First up there's Pearl Jam's self-titled album. I saw the latest cover of Rolling Stone and it says Best Pearl Jam Album in Ten Years. Wow. That's a mighty big statement there. You can read the full review of the album here. When PJ first broke big and all the world was stocking up on flannels and letting their hair grow shaggy, I was immersed in the gothic-industrial subculture and so took a pretty pretentious pass on listening to anything like them with the few exceptions like Sonic Youth, Fugazi and Soundgarden. The wife is a huge fan, and so of course retold the great story of all the Seattle bands, their backstories and the giant family tree that seemed like it sure had an awful lot of heroin in it.

In recent years I've really admired Eddie Vedder's politics (and I'm not always want to jump on a singer's opinions - see: Stipe, Michael and O'Connor, Sinead) and there's a line in particular from that RS review that gives me a lot of hope for the new CD. "The politics on Pearl Jam are not those of right or left but of engagement and responsibility." I like that. A lot. We don't get enough of that these days.

The second album that has me excited is Tool's new effort - 10,000 Days. Despite Maynard's work with other projects such as A Perfect Circle, it's been 5 years since Tool's 2.3 million copy selling Lateralus. I'll hopefully be listening to an advance copy of the album with tomorrow morning's coffee. I'm hearing interesting things about tabla and sitar orchestrations, ethereal soundscapes and of course the signature sonically relentless rock Tool has come to be recognized for. Even going a step further than the last Tool and A Perfect Circle albums, apparently most tracks on 10,000 days are 7 - 12 minutes long. That's a lot of rock.

With Maynard stating in this month's Revolver that he's probably done with APC, let's hope it's not another 5 years before the next Tool effort.

- David J.

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